For most victims of identity theft and fraud, there are no warning signs—the discovery of what has happened hits them like a slap in the face.

You might:

  • Get a call from a collection agency asking for payment for an account you don’t have.
  • Find out that you were approved or denied credit that you never applied for.
  • Be refused a loan, mortgage or credit card that you should have qualified for.
  • Notice that your bank or credit card statements show purchases you didn’t make.
  • Suddenly stop receiving bank statements, bills, or other regular mail.
  • Receive a call from your telephone service provider inquiring about unusual account activity.
  • Try to make a purchase with your debit card only to discover that your account has been drained or is inactive.
  • Receive a call about a rental application you never filled out.
  • Be advised by your financial institution that your debit card was copied and you have to pick up a replacement from the branch.

One of the best ways to stay on top of your personal situation and make sure nothing strange is going on is to check your credit report regularly with credit agencies such as Equifax or TransUnion. If you detect any abnormal activity, you can correct things as soon as possible to limit the damage and avoid any unpleasant surprises down the road.

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